MANILA, Philippines – After admitting her romantic dalliance with her former driver Ronnie Dayan, Sen. Leila de Lima no longer wants to talk about her personal life and asked those concerned to respect her privacy.
“I have said my piece and I would not want to add anything more other than what I have repeatedly said in the past interviews. I do hope that you will respect my right to privacy over my personal life and not impute any more malice,” De Lima said in a statement.
The senator issued the statement after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II warned that her admission could strengthen the cases filed against her.
De Lima sought her supporters’ understanding for the mistakes in her personal life. She gave assurance that she would never let these affect her work in public service.
“Like many of us, including my detractors, some decisions and relationships in our past have not been the best and the wisest. I have learned from these experiences and resolved to use my pain to focus on the good I can do,” she said.
She cited her track record as a public official – as former chief of the Commission on Human Rights and justice secretary.
“My record and reputation have been untarnished until lately because of all these unjust, unfair and false allegations and fabricated lies against my alleged involvement in the drug trade.”
“I have made my peace with my past and my family. I don’t know if my primary attacker can say the same,” she added.
She vowed not to shirk from her mission to stop the extrajudicial killings and summary executions that have been happening in the country as well as to address other social issues “despite the danger to my life and reputation.”
‘Not my bagman’
De Lima has denied Dayan was her bagman for drug lords at the NBP, even as she acknowledged him receiving bribe money behind her back “within the realm of possibility.”
She made the statement during an interview on Monday night with “Bawal ang Pasaway,” a public affairs program hosted by economist Winnie Monsod.
When Monsod asked De Lima whether it was possible that Dayan used her to collect drug money without her knowing it, she replied: “It’s within the realm of possibility.”
“But if he was doing that or had done that, I would’ve noticed that, I would’ve detected that, but there’s none of that sort,” De Lima said.
“I’m 100 percent sure of myself that I did not receive anything and I’m sure that I’ve not allowed anyone to be my bagman,” she added.
She said would continue to say the same for other men accused of being her bagmen, including Jonel Sanchez, her former bodyguard, and NBP inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
She said she and Dayan became close because she trusted him and their affair lasted for a few years. They broke up shortly before she ran for Senate last May.
The senator said she does not know where Dayan is, but that it was understandable that he will be hiding from the authorities.
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